This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 05, 2008

Wal-Mart to Provide Energy Audits of State Capitols

The National Governors Association (NGA) announced on February 26 a new partnership with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to provide energy audits of state capitol complexes. Under the new "Greening the Capitols" partnership, Wal-Mart will send experts to as many as 20 state capitol complexes throughout 2008 and 2009 with the goal of identifying energy efficiency improvements that will provide a return on investment within five years. In addition, the Wal-Mart team will demonstrate the anticipated cost savings and carbon dioxide reductions each state could experience by implementing the recommended improvements. The NGA Center for Best Practices will help identify states for participation and catalog the successes each state experiences. See the Wal-Mart press release and the NGA fact sheet on the partnership (PDF 244 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Photo of flat roof covered with bubble-shaped clear skylights that contain complex equipment inside. A sloping roof in the background has a large dark blue rectangle on it.

The Wal-Mart experimental store in Aurora, Colorado, includes innovative skylights with sun-tracking mirrors. Solar panels are barely visible on the roof in the background.
Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

So why is Wal-Mart providing energy efficiency audits? Perhaps in part because of energy efficiency lessons that the company learned in its experimental stores that opened in Aurora, Colorado, and McKinney, Texas, in 2005. This January, the company opened a new supercenter in Romeoville, Illinois, that is 25% more energy efficient than its standard stores, and on March 5, Wal-Mart is opening another energy efficient supercenter in Bernalillo, New Mexico. But the partnership may also present a business opportunity for Wal-Mart. After the states receive their energy audit report, they have the option of asking Wal-Mart to gather bids from interested companies and to facilitate the installation of the recommended technologies. See the Wal-Mart press releases on its new stores in Illinois and New Mexico.